Home » Rigor and RelevanceSpring 2011


by Cindy Thomsen No Comment

Your New TV is So Yesterday

Bryan Ringstrand with liquid crystals

Think it can’t get any better than that 52-inch flat screen plasma television on your wall? Sorry—it may be passé before long, thanks to Associate Professor of Chemistry Piotr Kaszynski and graduate student Bryan Ringstrand. The two have created a new class of liquid display crystals that could make everything from digital watches to televisions more energy efficient, work faster and have better contrast.

“Our liquid crystals have basic properties that make them suitable for practical applications, but they must be tested for durability, lifetime and similar characteristics before they can be used in commercial products,” Kaszynski says. (Even so, commercial companies have already expressed interest.)

If they pass testing, the new class of liquid crystals could be added to the molecular mixtures used in liquid crystal displays. Their findings—the result of more than five years of work—adds to the scientific body of knowledge about liquid crystals.

The Powerful Prayers of Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis Baldwin, professor of religious studies at the College of Arts and Science, has been fascinated by Martin Luther King Jr. since his high school days in Camden, Ala. In his fourth book about King, Never to Leave Us Alone: The Prayer Life of Martin Luther King Jr., Baldwin discusses how prayer and church life shaped King’s identity, thought, vision and sense of mission.

Baldwin explores the ways in which King redefined prayer during the civil rights movement and made it an instrument for social change by combining religion and nonviolent activism with prayer vigils, prayer marches, prayer campaigns and prayer rallies. Through these efforts, King widened his appeal to include not only the traditional black churches, but Catholics, Jews and the nonreligious as well.

photo credit: Steve Green, Daniel Dubois

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